The one that started a renaissance. After the artistically disappointing animated films of the 1970s, the following decade was providing little hope for the future of the animation department of Walt Disney Pictures. While films like The Fox and the Hound and The Great Mouse Detective had proven relative success stories at the box office, they lacked the true Disney magic of decades past. After the colossal failure of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Disney's animators lived in constant fear CEO Michael Eisner was looking for any excuse to swing...

The one that paved the way for Disney's revival. With the release of The Black Cauldron out of the way and production close to wrapping on The Great Mouse Detective, Disney CEO Michael Eisner and head of Walt Disney Pictures Jeffrey Katzenberg were ready to finally oversee their first animated productions. While Eisner was still flirting with the idea of shutting the costly animation department down, newly-appointed Vice President of Animation Peter Schneider promised bigger and better things were to come. In a bid to uncover that next big thing,...

The one that sparked a revolution. As newly-minted Disney President, Ron Miller began his reign in 1980, many hoped a member of the Disney family (Miller was Walt's son-in-law) could leader the studio back to its former glory. Just four years later, Miller would be unceremoniously booted out of the top job, as covered in my piece on The Black Cauldron. But in the midst of the chaos surrounding the production that pending disaster, Miller would also greenlight another animated project which would prove to a gamechanger. In the mid-1970s,...

The one that almost killed Disney animation. As the 1980s began, Walt Disney Pictures (yes, we've seen a name change) entered the decade under new leadership. For the first time since the death of Roy O. Disney, the studio was controlled by a member of the Disney family, with Walt Disney's son-in-law Ron Miller taking the reins as President. After working closely with his father-in-law prior to his death in 1966, Miller had spent the last two decades producing numerous Disney films including Freaky Friday, Escape to Witch Mountain,...

The one that challenged the idea of friendship. By the late 1970s, the animation department of Walt Disney Productions had saved itself from foreclosure, particularly after the stunning success of The Rescuers. While a new crop of animators were proving the next generation may just be the answer to a much-needed revolution, the remaining members of Walt's "Nine Old Men" were providing supervision on their final film. And the changing of the guard would prove to be more tumultuous than first expected. Way back in May 1967, Disney had acquired...

Since bursting onto the small screen in 2003 with the criminally underrated Nip/Tuck, writer/director/producer Ryan Murphy has been a dominant force in Tinsel Town, creating some of the best and worst (Scream Queens, anyone?) television shows of the last 17 years. With a penchant for crafting stories centred on minority groups the industry so often ignores, Murphy has blazed a fervent trail to shake up a town still set in the ways of eras gone by. In perhaps his boldest offering to date, Murphy and co-creator Ian Brennan formulate...

The one that became an unexpected smash. The 1970s were a period of great change within the walls of Walt Disney Productions. After the upheaval of losing both Walt and Roy Disney in the space of five years, the studio seemed to be moving further and further away from crafting great works of animation artistry. Instead, the new regime of executives were steadfastly determined to produce animated feature films as inexpensively as possible and appeal purely to children by way of simplistic narratives and slapstick humour. It didn't help Walt's...

The one that crowned a new Disney icon. In his 65 years on this earth, Walt Disney had numerous credits and achievements to his name. The creator of Mickey Mouse. The visionary behind the birth of feature-length animated films. The winner of 22 Academy Awards from 59 nominations, making him the most awarded and nominated individual in Oscars history. The mastermind behind Disneyland. And that's just a taste of Walt's incredible four-decade career. But there was something which meant more to Walt than anything in his illustrious career; his...

The one that recycled the past. After taking the reins from his late brother, Walt, following his death in 1966, the 1970s began with Roy O. Disney promising to steady the ship and honour the legacy the Disney studio had established over the last five decades. On October 1, 1971, Roy achieved his brother's grand dream of a new Disney theme park in Florida, with Walt Disney World opening to the public. Sadly, less than three months later, Roy would suffer a massive stroke and die from a subsequent...

The one that started a new era. The death of Walt Disney in 1966 left an indelible void at Walt Disney Productions. After Walt kept his lung cancer diagnosis a secret from those outside his immediate family, there were few in the studio who were fully prepared for life without their visionary leader. Many of Disney's animators had worked side-by-side with Walt for several decades, leaning heavily on his guidance and direction to inspire their work. Without Walt, many were genuinely questioning if Disney could even continue to craft...